Sunday, October 5, 2014

Merwin Like Merlin

Hours after I contemplated stopping this -- yes, this (writing) -- I read this:

I asked how can you ever be sure
that what you write is really
any good at all and he said you can't

you can't you can never be sure
you die without knowing
whether anything you wrote was any good
if you have to be sure don't write

which is part of this W.S. Merwin poem  and if I'm going to believe that there are no accidents, magical thinking, not Merwin but Merlin, I'm going to have to say that I don't need to be sure. Honestly, I don't need to be sure, so I'm going to continue to write, this. I took that photo of Sophie in the carwash today where I'd taken her to silence her, to take up time, to absolve the guilt of not doing enough, to diffuse the frustration I felt as she repetitively let her ankle collapse, her right ankle. It's a freaky move that she's done on and off for years and now it seems to always be on, and it makes her very unstable which makes me think I have to put the gd orthotics on her again. I put her in the car and we went to the carwash.

he suggested I pray to the Muse
get down on my knees and pray
right there in the corner and he
said he meant it literally

it was in the days before the beard
and the drink but he was deep
in tides of his own through which he sailed

chin sideways and head tilted like a tacking sloop 

I took that picture -- my silly blue phone -- and then I puzzled over it as forced wind rushed over my car, drying the droplets, skittering them down the windshield, perfect tears that disappeared. I can't quite figure out the perspective in that random shot or what there is to focus on with rear-view mirrors and glass to look through, the street ahead, the brushes behind and Sophie looking down, chin sideways and head tilted like a tacking sloop and my eye, blinded. That's it. I felt blinded today. Blinded and bored by story. My story. Sophie's seizures. Sophie's foot. I contemplated stopping it -- that story -- and doing nothing at all.

don't lose your arrogance yet he said
you can do that when you're older
lose it too soon and you may
merely replace it with vanity

I've mixed up the verses of the poem, the order, his order, Merwin's order (or Berryman's), and I'm not young, but I guess I'm going to have to get out of my own way, not stop.


  1. Is it even a choice, stopping?
    I ponder that.
    So far the answer is no.

  2. seems like creative angst. it doesn't matter. who's judging and by what standard, that doesn't matter either. what matters is if your writing moves and touches even one person it's all good.

  3. I love the poem and I get the car wash. I wonder if it wasn't exactly what Sophie needed, too, that rush of noise and motion and the ability to just sit and be in the middle of it without having to do anything at all but just listen and look.

  4. Getting out of our own way and allowing whatever already is (in the space/time continuum) to be. I ask these questions and then, as I read you, know they are, for me, another form of sharpening pencils, a way of putting off writing because there is no guarantee that it will be good. It is my own foot that vexes me, or feet, going their own ways with no warning. We're here for the long ride. Blessings. xo

  5. I think taking a break can occasionally be helpful. But for me, at least, stopping outright is never really an option.

    I think you have a lot of story to tell and I'm glad you're telling it. If it gets boring maybe you can somehow shake up the WAY you tell it -- though I can't take issue with that at all!



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